Ogwumike out as Sparks fall to Storm
The Seattle Storm pounded a short-handed Sparks team, 86-61, on Saturday night at Seattle in the season opener for both teams.
The Sparks were without three of their top four scorers from a year ago, including leading scorer Candace Parker, Kristi Toliver and Nneka Ogwumike. The absences of Parker and Toliver were anticipated, but the Seattle Times reported that 6foot-2 forward Ogwumike was out because a sprained left ankle. The losses of Parker and Ogwumike were particularly apparent on the Sparks’ front line as Seattle outscored L.A., 34-16, in the paint.
The Sparks shot 34.3% from the field, including four for 22 on three-point attempts while the Storm shot 51.6% overall, including nine for 20 on threepoint attempts.
Alana Beard led the Sparks with 20 points. Erin Phillips had11, and Jantel Lavender 10.
Renee Montgomery scored 19 points and Crystal Langhorne had18 to lift the Storm.
Jenny Boucek won in her coaching debut for the Storm. She took over in January after Brian Agler left to coach the Sparks.
Seattle also opened the season with a victory for the first time since 2010 and beat the Sparks for the first time in their last six meetings.
Sue Bird and Alysha Clark each scored 11 points.